May 2018 third driest

Sunset clouds

the heavens’ embroidered cloths

Temperatures did not stray far from normal. The first (black) frost that I observed was on the 15th, near the normal date for it (13th May). That began a week of sunny skies and very dry air.
There was only one rain day. An early morning shower gave a reading of 1.2 mm on the 30th.

May 2018 weather log

Comparing May months

The May months in 2018, 2017, and 2016, as well as in 2014, were all warm. The average temperature was more than half a degree above the normal value of 13.3°. While May 2017 was warm, wet, and humid, May 2018 was warm, dry, and arid. The air was exceptionally dry, with the mean early morning dew point (0.0°) the lowest for May, and the relative humidity at that time 68% instead of the usual 80% to 90%.
The rainfall total of 1.2 mm was third driest for May, equal with May 2002, but not as dry as May 2006 ( 0.2 mm). Only May 1927 was drier, with zero. May rainfall values have been low in the 21st century, with an average of 23 mm, compared to the long-term average of 41 mm.

Climate in May months

Rainfall Shortages

Last month, April 2018, had only two rainfall shortages classed as “serious” (below the 10th percentile): those for durations of five years and six years. Since then, more shortages have appeared. Those five-year and six-year shortages remain, but there are now serious shortages for durations of five months and twelve months, and severe shortages (below the 5th percentile) for one month, two months and three months. The current three-month total (45 mm) is at the 4th percentile.

Data. A Bureau of Meteorology automatic rain gauge operates in the museum yard. From 17 March 2017, 9 am daily readings are published as Manilla Museum, Station 55312.  These reports use that rainfall data when it is available.  The gauge, which had last reported on 24 September 2017, came on line again on the 16th of March. However, during the month of May eleven daily readings were blank. I have substituted my own gauge readings, which were all zero.

All data, including subsoil at 750 mm, are from 3 Monash Street, Manilla.

3-year trends to May 2018

Warm and Very Dry

3-year trends to May 2018

May raw anomaly data (orange)

The raw maximum temperature anomaly for May 2018 was rather high, as was that of the subsoil. The anomaly of daily minimum temperature was low. Very low moisture was shown by the rainfall, daily temperature range, and dew point anomalies, but cloudiness was normal.

 Fully smoothed data (red)

Fully-smoothed data are now available for the spring months (SON) of 2017. In that season, all three temperatures were within their normal range. Both air temperatures were rising, but subsoil temperature was falling.
Rainfall was moving up the graph to less than normal (i.e. arid). The other three moisture measures were moving down their graphs towards humidity: cloudiness more than normal (i.e. humid), dew point still less than normal (i.e. arid), and daily temperature range still wider than normal (i.e. arid).


Fully smoothed data – Gaussian smoothing with half-width 6 months – are plotted in red, partly smoothed data uncoloured, and raw data for the last data point in orange. January data points are marked by squares.
Blue diamonds and the dashed blue rectangle show the extreme values in the fully smoothed data record since September 1999.

Normal values are based on averages for the decade from March 1999.* They appear on these graphs as a turquoise (turquoise) circle at the origin (0,0). A range of anomalies called “normal” is shown by a dashed rectangle in aqua (aqua). For values in degrees, the assigned normal range is +/-0.7°; for cloudiness, +/-7%; for monthly rainfall, +/-14 mm.

 * Normal values for rainfall are based on averages for the 125 years beginning 1883.

February 2015 a very dry month

Photo of a baby Kookaburra

Baby Laughing Kookaburra

After a very cool first week, normal temperatures returned, both by day (33°) and by night (18°) . Early on, most mornings were sunny. Later, many were almost overcast, but only three days had light rain, with a maximum of 3.4 mm.

Weather log  February 2015

Comparing February months

Most of the last seven February months have been unusual in some way. This month was very dry, with near-record low rainfall and very low humidity. By contrast, February 2012 was very wet, as well as very cool. Both 2011 and 2014 were very warm, but 2011 was also very cloudy and humid. February 2013 was the coolest, without being wet like 2012.
The total rainfall of 7.6 mm this month was very low (6th percentile): this was the 8th driest February, and the driest since 1989, which (like 1974) had 7.0 mm. Still, taking rainfall totals for groups of months, only the 24-month total (985 mm) is a serious shortage, in the 9th percentile.

Climate forFebruary 2015

Data. Rainfall data is from Manilla Post Office, courtesy of Phil Pinch. Temperatures, including subsoil at 750 mm, and other data are from 3 Monash  Street, Manilla.

With the retirement of the Post-master, Phil Pinch, the future of rainfall observations at Manilla Post Office (055031), kept for 132 years since March 1883, is uncertain.